Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mirror, Mirror

Mechanix Illustrated, August 1950

Spooks on the Airways

By Irv Leiberman

[...] Another similar incident happened in Jackson Heights, New York. One morning, after a gay and alcoholic night before, a man wearily trudged into the bathroom to shave. He was just about deciding to jump back into bed and forget about work that day when a disgustingly wide-awake voice shouted “Look sharp! Be sharp! Use . . .” The poor fellow almost fainted. Engineers later blamed it on a peculiar arrangement of lead on the glass and tin in the cabinet. [...]

[That item comes from an article about various objects that have unexpectedly become radio receivers. Jeffrey Sconce, in Haunted Media (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2000, p. 68), mentions a suspiciously similar incident in which a woman "fainted one morning in the bathroom after her mirror greeted her by saying hello (apparently the lead and glass in the bathroom had served as an antenna for a nearby station)." His source is Alden Armagnac, "Weird Electrical Freaks Traced to Runaway Radio Waves," Popular Science Monthly, June 1935, p. 11. -- bc]